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Archive for November, 2012

It's the last day of November, and I feel fine

November 30th, 2012 at 07:42 am

Today I am grateful for:
1. Payday. So grateful to have $$ to throw at the credit card balance.

2. Trees. Japanese do something called shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing" for health: walk among trees. People suffering from depression have experienced a lift in cognition after a 50-minute walk in a forest. Mushrooms, salmon, big trees, coffee: all these in my environment to help alleviate the winter gloom. We have tall evergreens where I live, and for that I am glad.

3. The older gentleman at Cafe Racer who suggested "The Graduate" when the young barista asked us what film available from Netflix we should watch. I had seen "The Graduate" decades earlier but now that I am closer to Mrs. Robinson's age I see how very funny it is in its deadpan way.

Bonus grateful things: ability to edit blog posts. And that Cafe Racer is still around after that awful incident earlier this year.

Today's Gratitude List

November 29th, 2012 at 07:39 pm

1. Hot water for shower.
2. DH came with me to Costco for shopping. Costco waits 3-5 days before cashing cheques so we wrote one (we have under $100 in chequing). Found 75 oz tub of Nutiva Coconut oil for $22. Considering an 14 oz Nutiva coconut oil jar goes for $11 you bet I jumped on this!
3. Did not need to run out for impromptu meal of pork chops with cabbage (red) and apples.
4. Found my BECU thumb drive and mp3 player. Not bothering with iTunes on this PC.
5. wowitsawonderfullife's idea to make this a frequently occurring theme.
6. Good and timely Costco parking and shopping trip.

Lagniappe: Is it baking season? Here is a unique film on how to make a cake, as demonstrated by children.

O Little Post of Gratitude How Rare We See Thee Here

November 28th, 2012 at 05:28 pm

1. Car Service gave me $5 for a mocha (they have a coffee machine). I had asked for $5 to be added to my bill so I could get a mocha but that would muck up accounting.

2. My son received a half-dollar for sharing with the gold dealer a little-known fact of the Declaration of Independence signing.

3. I did not get drenched nor was hit by a car while walking on this grey gloomy day.

4. My expensive medications were paid for fully by my our Health Savings Account.

5. I was allowed to activate my new computer's copy of office 2010 after uninstalling it on my old PC by a call to Microsoft. I saw that I still had Office Ultimate 2007 on the old PC.

6. Bed Bath & Beyond honoured my $5 coupon postdated as I furnished a receipt.

Participated in Cyber Monday

November 26th, 2012 at 02:19 pm

Picked up NHL Slapshot at $40 discount, plus $0.50 for Target discount, plus free shipping. Between this and the Don Cherry book plus two Rock Em Sock Em Hockey DVD compilations (one of them free and unopened), my tot should manage through the lockout.
So far that is all the Cyber Monday shopping I can manage.

Am choosing to use Costco for the used auto purchase. Researching new car ideas thanks to the bounty of suggestions from using the site forum.

I bought a newer computer

November 25th, 2012 at 03:36 pm

Not new. Not an HP nor a Dell. I bought a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 530 at a local business, not a big box store national chain. The TouchPad seems more durable, and there is more storage and a number pad. I like that I was not talked down to, and nobody minded that I used the one floor model with web access to check CNET reviews and user reviews/complaints. They could not ignore me because three people were on shift and my family were the only customers in for awhile.

I have backed up my documents, videos, songs, executables on the Studio 1537 to an external drive.
I will not use or start the Lenovo until everything has been backed up.

The outdoor plants think it is spring. Some muscari corms have green shoots, including some in a bucket. One rose bush has leaf buds. The rhododendrons bloomed again in September after a June prune. I know I am supposed to be mortally terrorized by climate change and greenhouse gases, and my heart did go out to the people on the East Coast who survived an unprecedented storm.

We did have a very wet day on November 19, with reports of flooding in an area one mile away from us. Nothing to warrant FEMA's attention though, and we are glad to live on a hill. I think I will put that in my list of requirements when I move: be on a hill away from floods. However, I walked without jacket or gloves today outside in the sun, and love that I could do that.

Ready to Push Finances Reset Button

November 24th, 2012 at 04:52 pm

I have seen some good easy advice: keep separate accounts for your goals. I have my monies in various accounts, all presumably for the "OMG the credit union is gonna rescind our HELOC WTF lulz!" moment, which came only to people who banked with Washington Mutual and now with JP Morgan Chase, and even then I know only of incidents of reduction of HELOC limits, not outright rescission.


Some of us recognize the internal pressure and amplified yen that propel us to make a purchase. I fight with my mouse, my USB ports are broken or finicky. I may blow up to $500 on a refurbished business-class laptop.

We have not seriously shopped for a vehicle yet. We have been buying silver and paying bills and shopping for presents. My spouse wants a certain kind of car and now admits he likes the style of it, All my long-distance presents except for one CD to New York have been mailed. My friend is Jewish and it's domestic so I think any time between now and December 24 should be okay for her. I may owe her a $10 Amazon gift certificate, the prize for our private dead pools.
My stamp/coin/currency dealer has expressed interest in dead pools. I can tell you that after this morning I feel better about my position in the one I participate in with mjrube, baselle and others.

We are pre-approved for a car loan

November 21st, 2012 at 04:54 pm

Thanks to our credit union. I feel some tension release: I am very pessimistic about our finances and about my life in general. I shan't share the maximum amount we were approved for, only that I am convinced we can get a car we can afford and live with, and that the process took twenty-two minutes instead of thirteen because our member services consultant needed assistance getting the loan docs filled out. We even got a free calendar.

Spending Turkey Day in Vancouver BC, but having turkey nonetheless as a Canadian restaurant is acknowledging the holiday down south. I hope to buy some CDs and maybe some silver.

My Dell 1537 will be replaced within a month too, I believe. The USB ports are damaged and very sensitive. I did not like that Dell's website balks at the idea of sending me, after I submitted my Service Tag info, to Windows 7 display drivers (because I AM running Win 7, 64-bit) and instead rests me at Windows Vista, which I do not have.

We splurged today at a candy store, where we found some longlost childhood favourites like Fruit Stripe (used to be Lucky Stripe, after the cigarette brand Lucky Strike) gum and Oh Henry! bars, and coconut curry cashews.

Oh yes, spammers can go die of septic shock while being tenderized by an auger at high speeds.

Not meeting my 2012 debt repayment goal

November 19th, 2012 at 10:09 am

I did not meet my 2011 debt repayment goal either. I could say I feel defeated but what is the point.

I was to put the house up for sale or reduce HELOC to $13060 by June 6. Or buying a car when Precious Metals ($12989 today) and Money Market Account ($12653.36) are worth at least twice of HELOC ($12637.97). No new car yet, although the credit union has lowered its APR to 2.34% should we buy a late-model vehicle.

Most of the Christmas/holiday gifts I was to send in 2012 have been mailed. Thinking of sending our leftover tanning lotion to my brother in Abu Dhabi.

I do owe less than I did last year, and for those without Ghostery, Do Not Track Plus or AdBlock Plus you can see that most of my planned acquisitions have been covered.

My son lost The North Face three-way insulated jacket I bought him for his three-day stay in the Olympic National Forest, before he was to go. Why do we bother spending $$$ on him?

Ides of November

November 15th, 2012 at 09:53 am

After a jaunt to Vancouver, purchases of new sheets for the bed, vacuum cleaner and handheld blender and SureFit slipcovers for our shredded (we have cats) upholstery, the credit card account approaches $1000. I did go to the Veterans Day evening sale at Sears, paid $249.99 plus tax for the Kenmore 21614, getting a Cuisinart handheld blender as well for about 11% of that.

Why the splurges? We had delayed the slipcover purchases for years, and the vacuum cleaner hose, with its silver-tape patches, showed its age and would cost close to $100 to replace. The handheld blender is useful for whipping cream, blending soups and salad dressings, all of which I do with bulkier appliances.

I regret nothing! Except my clutter, and attention deficit, and taking way too long to get back to people, and bothering to make golden orange cupcakes which were good but barely touched by my book group.

The school Fall Family Feast was cancelled due to low interest. Colour me surprised: the insinuation that junk food would be an essential part of feast food in other countries' harvest celebrations was insulting. This from a school whose country propelled Paula Deen and Guy Fieri to television stardom.

Today I heard a Holiday Song

November 10th, 2012 at 05:42 pm

and tomorrow I go to Sears and spring for a new vacuum cleaner. Let us hope it sucks hard. I did my research and we arrived the day before a sale, so we saw the model in stock.

A mutual follower on Twitter had a Donald Duck-style rage on Tuesday night. For her, I vow to save at least $3.32 a day or at least pay my debt down by $3.32 a day. Fortunately for me my mortgage will count in that $3.32.

Looking at tax changes for 2013 I think I will go get some advanced or intermediate data processing skills and a wardrobe and head out for jobs.

The Long Dark Teatime Post of Food and Gambling

November 4th, 2012 at 03:53 pm

It is 3:55 pm on a damp, breezy Sunday. We have just returned from Safeway supermarket with four bags and $53 worth of groceries, and nine more gallons of motor fuel at $3.42 US per gallon. I saved $20 and earned a 30 cent per gallon reduction. I need not buy anything other than fresh fruits and dairy for over three weeks.

The kid won even more money at scratch tickets. I feel dirty signing my name on the back of the winning tickets and bringing his cash home, like running to the store to buy cigarettes for the stepgrandmother, and I feel mild shame seeing him punch selections on the lotto vending machine. As long as he wins money and follows our rules and has a limit mild shame and dirt are what I put up with. His fourth grade teacher won $1000 at the supermarket from scratch tickets, so telling him nobody ever wins at those is futile.

We will need to replace our vacuum cleaner soon. I have been to Consumer Reports to identify an economical Consumer Reports Best Buy canister vacuum cleaner that works well on pet hair and wood floors.

I have not posted my weekly menus for awhile, and will not do so this week either -- the boys are out for half the week, and I may either attempt to invite people to my house for dinner, the economical option, or enjoy the $30 for three entrees November promotion with people. I like shellfish, Polish/Hungarian food, English food, Japanese food and Italian food. This week I crave chicken and waffles.

The anxiety gripping two of my acquaintances along with me is the recognition we will need to buy replacement vehicles very soon, before the DE/MD/PA/NY/NJ waterlogged vehicles make their way westward as Katrina vehicles did seven years earlier. One has less than a month, I don't know how much time we have but would like a newer car before December 31. None of us has the money outright to purchase our desired vehicle. I may try asking DH if he can broker a 36-48 month loan at 2.25% APY from his mom and dad. It'd be more profitable than a CD for them, and we would not have a credit hit before we sell the house and buy somewhere else. Otherwise, I will have him apply for a loan through the credit union.

Off-topic: my kid's school is hosting a Fall Family Feast for fourth and fifth grade children, staff and families. We are invited to bring family feast favourite (read "ethnic") foods, but the notice in the takehome bulletin contains the text "We are looking for healthy food, no 'junk food,' and I do not know what they mean by 'junk food'. My spouse says "They mean no 'Twinkies' or 'Zingers'," but I think "who brings boxed Hostess-brand foods to a traditional family holiday feast"? I will have my kid bring Yorkshire pudding, I don't know who among the organizers has the final say on what constitutes 'junk food'. Yorkshire puddings are ethnic (not in Canada but apparently the mixes are in the 'international foods' aisle at our US supermarket), portable, require no reheating, and are guaranteed to be eaten by the kid if there are any leftovers. Not all that healthy, but no sugar or high fructose corn syrup or peanuts, and yes we did have them at family feasts.

I generally ignore most food guidelines set by the school, the sole guideline I pay absolute attention to is not bringing anything with peanuts. I always print out an ingredients list with the label of the food I bring and check for food allergies or diabetes among the guests before I prepare and bring items and think that is enough. Offering food under any circumstances gives me anxiety: I am proud of what I make, I know it is delicious, but there are always leftovers UNLESS the food has frightening amounts of sugar, like maple syrup pie or butter tarts. The worst was when we went to British Columbia to a relation's for Thanksgiving, I asked what to bring, she said and I quote "salad" so we went to Granville Island in Vancouver for organic greens, and made salad dressing in our car with some oil and vinegar and herbs we bought from a supermarket, and the BC guests who are fellow relatives did not touch it because the salad had green, leafy ingredients...

Out Out Brief Update!

November 3rd, 2012 at 09:29 am

My kid paid his dad to go buy some scratch tickets and he won money, a 66% profit. Our rule now is for every $2 frittered on lottery tickets, $25 goes into medium-long term investments, applicable to everyone. DH and I are to collect a 20% broker fee too.

Silver and gold prices sank, along with many equities. I will probably buy some next week. On October 31, my son dressed as a Knight of the Round Table, we walked to the local coin shop where my dear lad asked for the Holy Grail. One proprietor went into the back and got one for him. "Used, but still holy," he said. Of course other trick-or-treating happened too, then we went to a Secret Sprocket Society screening of Pre-Code horror and cartoons.

I am on track to pay 10% less in interest on the Home Equity Line of Credit by the end of the year. And as long as Lindsay Lohan doesn't freebase with Dick Cheney over the holiday season or in a murder-suicide bid I am likely to get some money from one of the dead pools.

Saved $210.74 with coupons for local retailers from November 2011 to October 2012.

For those who would shoplift from supermarkets, do carry a list and dress professionally, foregoing deep-pocket dusters and cargo pants. Do not be obtrusive.